Mike Smith and Mikko Koskinen were as close to a timeshare as you’ll get in the NHL this past season. Smith played 39 games, while Koskinen suited up in 38 for the club. Koskinen’s numbers (2.75 GAA, .917 sv%) were better than Smith’s (2.95 GAA, .902 sv%), while Smith (19) had more wins than Koskinen (18).
Who starts in Game 1 against the Chicago Blackhawks on August 1st is still anyone’s guess. Not even the men themselves know yet who will start. Both are preparing like they will get the net in 13 days.
“I’m preparing like I’m going to start Game 1 and I think Mikko’s doing the same thing,” Smith said on Saturday. “Whether it’s him or me, both guys are cheering for each other and we just want to do whatever we can to help this team win.”
It might be a case of “him AND me”during the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs. At least, that’s how head coach Dave Tippett sees it.
“We have a great deal of confidence in both guys,” Tippett told the media on Saturday. “They both look really good so far. As we go on, we’ll continue to monitor things, talk to Schwartzy, talk to the players and see where it goes. I envision both guys getting an opportunity to play.”
Smith started off hot in October, but struggled mightily in November and December before catching fire in January. Koskinen, meanwhile, was relatively steady during the course of the season.
No matter who starts Game 1, however, the goal is the same. It’s the same for Tippett, for Koskinen and for Smith. Really, it’s the same for everyone in Edmonton.
“We just want to get to the top and raise Lord Stanley.”